Salvation Army distributes holiday meals, gifts

Santa made an extra special stop in downtown Milwaukee on Christmas Day, leaving toys and delicious meals for thousands of people in need of some holiday cheer.

"It was not an option for us not to provide some type of help and assistance on Christmas Day," said Steven Woodard, Major, Salvation Army Milwaukee County coordinator.

Good old St. Nick made sure to leave presents, turkey and ham meals and more at the Wisconsin Center Friday morning.

"More and more people have been furloughed and laid off and trying to make ends meet," Woodard said. "There’s a lot of family members that lost family members this year due to COVID and other situations as well. It’s a tough time."

Salvation Army holiday meal distribution

Four-thousand meals and gifts were passed out by Santa's helpers, served to-go this year to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’re spacing out, we’ve got masks, we’ve got gloves," said Woodard. "You plan up until the day of, how can we make this even better? How can we make people even more safe?"

Salvation Army holiday meal distribution

Money from the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign helped pay for the holiday feast, as well as year-round operations.

"It helps us keep our doors and that assistance going 365 days a year," Woodard said.

Salvation Army holiday meal distribution

Need has been greater as of late, but the charity's workers say they were only able to serve half of the people they usually do this year.

"We still have an opportunity to provide a little hope, a little healing through a crazy year. We want them to know they have not been forgotten," said Woodard.

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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Salvation Army had to put a cap on the number of volunteers they hoped to have this year.

If you'd still like to give, more information is available on the Salvation Army website.

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